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Fried chicken, collard greens and mac and cheese at Pearl's Place
Fried chicken, collard greens and mac and cheese at Pearl's Place
Pearl's Place

11 Great Soul Food Restaurants in Chicago to Try Right Now

Where to find delicious smothered meats, collard greens, peach cobbler and much more

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Fried chicken, collard greens and mac and cheese at Pearl's Place
| Pearl's Place

Although Chicago is a city that boasts Michelin recognition in nearly every neighborhood, sometimes the most simple and heartwarming dishes provide the most satisfaction. Soul food — which doesn't always get accolades or stars — is just that.

Soul food takes you home with nourishment that's made more with the heart€” and less with the mind. Food that reminds you of the kitchen you grew up in. Sautéed, baked, boiled, and fried, from snout to tail and root to leaf €— soul food uses everything from end to end and in between, all while making it delicious. You won't find molecular gastronomy or dishes that have been prepared using state of the art kitchen devices at any one of these soul food staples. Just good food, like grandma used to make. Listed in alphabetical order.

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5 Loaves Eatery

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With an emphasis on home cooking and hospitality, this Greater Grand Crossing restaurant serves up classic neighborhood favorites like the turkey burger and southern fried chicken. They especially shine on Sundays, where they dedicate the menu and service to soul food and classic soul food staples like candied yams, garlic mash, cabbage and livers.

6978 Soul Food

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Home cooked goodness with a rotating menu that changes as often as daily, this Galewood hole-in-the-wall gem offers all of the standard soul food fanfare – collard greens, fried fish, banana pudding and plenty of smothered meats. They do happy hour drink specials on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Coco's Famous Fried Lobster

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This popular Loop soul food destination calls itself the best soul food in downtown Chicago. Heralded for their sides that include sautéed greens and such, they are mostly famous for their namesake — fried lobster. The portions are large and they have daily soul food specials that include smothered steaks and chops.

Daley's Restaurant

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Since 1892, Daley’s has been serving a little bit of everything to the Woodlawn neighborhood. Their constantly expanding menu features many soul food favorites like their homemade peach cobbler and new favorites like the chicken and waffles. With over 120 years under their belt, you’ll taste why they leave a lasting impression.

Dan's Soul Food

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A Southern comforts joint on the South Side in the Ashburn neighborhood that offers Thanksgiving dinner every day. A wide variety of traditional favorites are available daily, such as meatloaf, pot roast and red beans and rice and cornbread. Dan’s is the place to check out if you’re looking for holiday dinners any time of the year.

Granny B's

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What was once a Lithuanian neighborhood in Chicago Lawn is where you’ll find Granny B’s. This unassuming soul food restaurant is small and quaint, but adored by the locals. Aside from the standard soul food dishes you’re used to, Granny B’s goes the extra mile and surprises you with salmon specials like the croquettes.

Johnna's Cafe

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Tri-Taylor isn’t the first neighborhood you’d think of when wanting to check out some of the best home-cooked meals in Chicago. Surprisingly though, it’s worth making the trip to the area if you’re in need of mac and cheese with fried chicken and greens. This is exactly the way you’d expect any auntie would unleash at a family gathering.

Morrison's

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Part BBQ, but all soul. Lines are often long at this Auburn-Gresham staple. Like many southern soul food places, they have a rotating daily menu that’s soul food savvy. You’ll find more adventurous items on the menu here; chitterlings, succotash, and ham hocks. They’ve been serving and catering for nearly 40 years and still continue strong.

New Look

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No pork, but you can have all the smothered chicken and mimosas your heart desires. A bit unconventional compared to your typical soul food places because this particular joint has an attached bar with open mic nights. You get to enjoyed home-cooked meals while listening to drunk uncles tell bad jokes.

Pearl's Place

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This Bronzeville gem is home to many diners who love home-style cooking. One of the very few places that offer soul food buffets on weekdays and weekends, along-side their classic al-a-carte dishes. Desserts are made in house daily and you can get a variety of items that range from southern style shrimp and grits to fried green tomatoes.

Soul Vegetarian East

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Soul food isn’t always about meat off the bone and smothered steaks. Head to the Greater Grand Crossing neighborhood and you’ll vegetarian soul food that is good for any carnivore. Aside from being incredibly green, Soul Vegetarian East presents a menu completely free of refined flour and sugar. Check out this very health conscious approach to soul food.

5 Loaves Eatery

With an emphasis on home cooking and hospitality, this Greater Grand Crossing restaurant serves up classic neighborhood favorites like the turkey burger and southern fried chicken. They especially shine on Sundays, where they dedicate the menu and service to soul food and classic soul food staples like candied yams, garlic mash, cabbage and livers.

6978 Soul Food

Home cooked goodness with a rotating menu that changes as often as daily, this Galewood hole-in-the-wall gem offers all of the standard soul food fanfare – collard greens, fried fish, banana pudding and plenty of smothered meats. They do happy hour drink specials on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Coco's Famous Fried Lobster

This popular Loop soul food destination calls itself the best soul food in downtown Chicago. Heralded for their sides that include sautéed greens and such, they are mostly famous for their namesake — fried lobster. The portions are large and they have daily soul food specials that include smothered steaks and chops.

Daley's Restaurant

Since 1892, Daley’s has been serving a little bit of everything to the Woodlawn neighborhood. Their constantly expanding menu features many soul food favorites like their homemade peach cobbler and new favorites like the chicken and waffles. With over 120 years under their belt, you’ll taste why they leave a lasting impression.

Dan's Soul Food

A Southern comforts joint on the South Side in the Ashburn neighborhood that offers Thanksgiving dinner every day. A wide variety of traditional favorites are available daily, such as meatloaf, pot roast and red beans and rice and cornbread. Dan’s is the place to check out if you’re looking for holiday dinners any time of the year.

Granny B's

What was once a Lithuanian neighborhood in Chicago Lawn is where you’ll find Granny B’s. This unassuming soul food restaurant is small and quaint, but adored by the locals. Aside from the standard soul food dishes you’re used to, Granny B’s goes the extra mile and surprises you with salmon specials like the croquettes.

Johnna's Cafe

Tri-Taylor isn’t the first neighborhood you’d think of when wanting to check out some of the best home-cooked meals in Chicago. Surprisingly though, it’s worth making the trip to the area if you’re in need of mac and cheese with fried chicken and greens. This is exactly the way you’d expect any auntie would unleash at a family gathering.

Morrison's

Part BBQ, but all soul. Lines are often long at this Auburn-Gresham staple. Like many southern soul food places, they have a rotating daily menu that’s soul food savvy. You’ll find more adventurous items on the menu here; chitterlings, succotash, and ham hocks. They’ve been serving and catering for nearly 40 years and still continue strong.

New Look

No pork, but you can have all the smothered chicken and mimosas your heart desires. A bit unconventional compared to your typical soul food places because this particular joint has an attached bar with open mic nights. You get to enjoyed home-cooked meals while listening to drunk uncles tell bad jokes.

Pearl's Place

This Bronzeville gem is home to many diners who love home-style cooking. One of the very few places that offer soul food buffets on weekdays and weekends, along-side their classic al-a-carte dishes. Desserts are made in house daily and you can get a variety of items that range from southern style shrimp and grits to fried green tomatoes.

Soul Vegetarian East

Soul food isn’t always about meat off the bone and smothered steaks. Head to the Greater Grand Crossing neighborhood and you’ll vegetarian soul food that is good for any carnivore. Aside from being incredibly green, Soul Vegetarian East presents a menu completely free of refined flour and sugar. Check out this very health conscious approach to soul food.

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